Game Wrap-ups

Breaking down the goals from ECSF Game Two

This one is a tough loss to swallow. The Rangers outplayed the Capitals in all three zones, but couldn’t find a way to score the ever elusive third goal. Our forecheck was on fire tonight and almost every line generated some very good scoring chances. Unfortunately, most of those chances ended in a missed shot, a re-direction, or a shot off the post.

On to the scoring:

1-0 Capitals

The last recap I wrote, I talked about plays which led to goals that were sure to make the coaches happy. The Capitals first goal came from a play that is sure to make Torts glue Bickel’s ass to the bench.  Bickel went to the boards to receive a hard-around, but kind of pulled up awkwardly and lost his balance a little bit. This clearly made him rush his decision to get rid of the puck and instead of dumping it he blindly threw it across the ice, which was intercepted by Ward. A 3-on-2 ensued and Knuble was there for the finish at the far post.

Normally on odd man rushes I look to see which forwards fail to backcheck, but this interception was so high in the zone there was little chance our forecheckers could get back in time.

2-0 Capitals

This goal is likely to cause some controversy in Rangerland and I may have to enlist Justin (our goalie expert) to help me out on this one. Everyone seems to be blaming Hank for failing to handle the puck behind his own net and while that may be the case, I thought the real problem was he misread the speed of the puck along the boards. The puck came around much slower than anticipated and by the time it got to him, Chimera was in Hank’s face. Credit Chimera though, he got to that puck so quickly. A couple of strides through the neutral zone and Stralman was in the dust.

As you already know, Chimera was able to tap the puck off of McDonagh’s foot and in, but I don’t really blame McDonagh there, just as I didn’t blame MDZ for the goal that went off of his foot against the Senators. You have see how these plays develop to correctly assign blame.

2-1 Caps, Rangers get on board

With less than a minute left in the third, the Rangers were able to capitalize on Brooks Laich’s lazy line change. Laich went for a change while the Rangers had the puck in the neutral zone. I believe Stralman hit MDZ with a pass along the boards at the Capitals blueline. MDZ was able to thread a diagonal pass to Gaborik, who snuck into the zone around Washington’s coverage. Schultz bit hard towards Gabby, who then fed an uncovered Richards on Holtby’s doorstep. Great goal off a great passing sequence.

2-2, Rangers even it up on the power play

This goal is an easy one to break down. The Rangers were generating some solid chances on the power play, but were just coming up short with near misses. With about a minute left in the power play Stepan barely kept the puck in at the blueline. Step was able to get it to Richards at the point. Richards was pressured and fed the puck back to Stepan. Stepan hit MDZ with a cross-ice pass. MDZ threw one on net that was tipped in by Cally.

If the Rangers power play (or just their point play in general) keeps up at this pace, goals should theoretically be easier to come by. Their passing really led to some great chances. A few less missed nets would really go a long way in helping this PP become dangerous.


Caps go up 3-2 and hold on for the win

The final goal came from a point shot by Ovie on a Caps power play. Backstrom won the faceoff in our zone and the puck went right to Ovie at the point. Ovie threaded a hard wrister through Boyle and Brouwer (who were screening Lundqvist) and that was all she wrote.

Overall I thought the Rangers played a more complete game, but missed opportunities ultimately did them in. If MDZ and Richie had put more pucks on net or if Kreider finishes on that breakaway, this game could have easily been a blowout. Hopefully the Rangers find a way to cash it in when they get to DC.

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  • I don’t think McD was to blame at all for the second goal, and I don’t think MDZ should have gotten roasted like the way he did when he kicked in the puck, but MDZ certainly was at fault. Unfortunate sequence in both situations but McD really couldn’t have done anything there while MDZ was daydreaming.. the MDZ one really shouldn’t have gone in if he didn’t lose focus for that split second.

  • Despite the loss, I’m convinced the effort is there on behalf of the Rangers to win this series in far easier fashion than the ECQFs.
    “Hard work will get you everywhere.”

  • I definitely do not fault MCD for the puck hitting off his skate. It happens. On the first goal it was not all Bickel. Watch MDZ, he picks up nobody. If he picked up his man, that goal may not happen. Saying that, offensively, he had a great game. He has woken up a bit since he put Neil to sleep. I expect him to produce more as this series goes along.

  • The second goal was just some bad luck. That stated, think back against the Sens, the kick in was a poor goal, but it sparked the Rangers going forward. This game just might be a blessing for us, at least I hope so.

    Now that Ovi has a goal, start treating him the way Jason S was treated in the Sens series. I really don’t believe he likes getting hit, tries to out hit the other team, and then is off of his game. He still sucks!!!!!

  • I blame that second Washington goal on the stupid trapezoid…if it wasn’t there, everything would have been fine. But you are absolutely right Suit. He did misread how quickly the puck would enter into the safe zone and got caught. By the time he realized it wasn’t going to get there, if he retreated, it would have given the Caps player a clear passing lane or a decent chance at banking it off Hank. He had to try and disrupt that play as much as possible once his mistake was clear and got burned.

  • My reactions:

    Goal 1 (1-0 Caps): While I agree that Bickel is partially at fault on this for his blind dump across ice that led to an odd-man rush, MDZ completely blew his coverage in front of the net. Not only did he pick up no one, but he also wasn’t in position to intercept Ward’s cross-crease pass to Knuble. Poor defensive posture all around.

    Goal 2 (2-0 Caps): Entirely, unequivocally Hank’s fault. I love Hank, he’s one of the best, if not the best, goalies in the League. Yet, in all his years, he has yet to make any improvement whatsoever in puck handling. It’s almost a given that when he goes behind the net to get the puck he cycles it up the boards the WRONG way, usually into an oncoming opposing forward. He never cycles it back to the trailing defenseman. It drives me crazy. Tonight that wasn’t the case, but he still misjudged, and he was positioned to cycle the puck again, the wrong way. He got beat. The team should fine him every time he handles the puck outside of the crease.

    Goal 3 (2-1 Caps): Beautiful passing by both MDZ and Gaborik. Richards right he needs to be. What more to say?

    Goal 4 (2-2): The end result of a well-structured PP that was moving the puck, keeping it in the zone, and most importantly not hesitant to shoot. Good deflection through traffic.

    Goal 5 (Caps 3-2): Great shot by Ovie after a quick draw against a Rangers Penalty Kill that was already tired from killing of Boyle’s phantom holding the stick call. The interference call against Richards was horrible, in my opinion. It was a mutual collision at a pivotal point late in a tied game. You simply can’t call that, especially on the heels of the Boyle call.

    Rangers outplayed the Caps this game. They steadily built momentum after going down 2-0, and they looked poised to push for the win. Even after Ovie’s go-ahead goal, the Rangers didn’t let it suck the life out of them, sustaining pressure until the very end and MDZ rang another bullet off the post with 40+ seconds left.

    A lot of great things to take away from this game. Forget the loss, plow forward and take game 3 boys!

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